When teacher Kirk Brown was recently named San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year, he was recognized for his dedication and hard work both inside and outside the classroom.
Brown, a science teacher for 24 years at Tracy High School where he instructs advanced biology and biotechnology, also has been busy 'building bridges' from the classroom to the Laboratory. In doing so, he has helped science teachers throughout the San Joaquin and Tri-Valley areas by shaping many of the teacher enhancement programs offered at LLNL.
In 1992, Brown was first invited to participate in a Lab teacher education program, working with scientists and educators to develop instructional materials for science teachers such as the Biotechnology Education Program and Laser Science and Optics for the Classroom. These programs and many similar ones focus on teacher development and training with a strong emphasis on integrated instruction.
In addition, Brown has assisted in the development of classroom-ready materials, co-presenting with scientist at the Lab's well-known "Science on Saturday" lecture series, and has brought scientists into Tracy High labs to inspire his students to pursue science careers.
"Kirk Brown's work is unparalleled by any educator that I have encountered," said Richard Farnsworth, LLNL Science Education Program manager.
In addition to teaching, and his affiliation with LLNL, Brown has been a part-time employee at Bio-Rad, a Bay Area company that specializes in science technology equipment. Bio-Rad is publishing a textbook authored by Brown for use not only in his classroom, but also by other teachers.
The San Joaquin Teacher of the Year honor is just one of several awards now on Brown's shelf. Over the course of his career, he has captured: the Milken National Educator award; California's Outstanding Biology Teacher; and a KINA award -- Northern California's life science "Oscar" sponsored by Bay Bio.
Garnering the San Joaquin Teacher of the Year Award puts Brown in the running for California Teacher of the Year.